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US Department of Energy to provide US$1.5 million for near-zero water consumption at power plants

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World Coal,

The US Department of Energy’s (DOE) Office of Fossil Energy has selected one project to receive approximately US$1.5 million in federal funding for cost-shared research and development under the second closing of funding opportunity announcement (FOA) DE-FOA-0002001, ‘Crosscutting Research for Coal-Fuelled Power Plants.’

The selected project will support the DOE’s crosscutting research program, which develops technologies that can be applied to a range of fossil energy uses. Specifically, the project selected for this FOA will help ensure that the US has a fleet of coal-fired power plants that provide stable power generation with operational flexibility, high efficiency, low emissions and even lower water demand than at present.

The technology will minimise operational complexity and cost under cycling operating conditions. It will enhance the tolerance of fossil power generation when water availability is reduced due to droughts or competing needs from agriculture.

The second closing focused on one area of interest (AOI):

AOI 2: Coal power plant cooling technology

Subtopic 2B: Advanced dry cooling

‘Improvement of coal power plant dry cooling technology through application of coal thermal energy storage’ – the University of North Caroline at Charlotte (US) will develop, design and evaluate a robust and cost-effective system for improving the performance of a mechanical draft dry cooling tower or an air-cooled condenser (ACC) for coal power plant applications, using a pervious concrete with em-bedded, encapsulated phase-change material concept. The system is based on ‘cold energy’ storage, which involves storing low-temperature heat during the night when the temperature of the ambient air is low (~15°C) and using it to pre-cool the air entering a dry cool-ing tower/ACC during the hot (~40°C) period of the day to improve cooling performance and reduce condenser back pressure.

DOE funding: approximately US$1.45 million; Non-DOE funding: US$363 484; Total value: approximately US$1.82 million.

The National Energy Technology Laboratory will manage the selected project.

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